The High Court has today ruled that the Criminal Court’s verdict to sentence Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Abdulla Jabir was lawful.
During today’s hearing, the court told Jabir that the it could not agree with claims that the Criminal Court had not given enough opportunity for Jabir to defend himself.
The court responded to Jabir’s allegations that among the three police officers summoned to the court as witnesses against Jabir, one officer had tortured the defendant. The court noted that Jabir was not able to clarify to the court who among the three had tortured him.
The High Court ruled that, though there may be one officer among the three that had tortured Jabir, the statements of the other two officers will still be valid, which was enough to rule that Jabir was guilty.
Additionally, the High Court responded to Jabir’s claims that the Criminal Court’s verdict did not have the signature of the presiding judge, noted that although the verdict did not have presiding judge’s signature, the case report did.
On February 20, 2014, the Criminal Court sentenced Jabir to one year after finding him guilty of refusing to provide his urine sample to the police to run a drug test, and sentenced him to twelve months under the Drug Act 17/2011 article 123(a)(b).
The Criminal Court ruling stated that on November 16, 2012, Jabir was arrested as a suspect in a drug related case and that police asked him to produce his urine sample to which he clearly refused according to the witnesses produced by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The verdict stated that, although Jabir had claimed that he was tortured by the witnesses produced by the state and that the police did not follow the correct procedure when asking for a urine sample, Jabir was not able to prove these accusations to the court.
Jabir was taken into police custody on November 16, 2012 along with senior MDP members while they were on Hondaidhoo Island, Haa Dhaalu Atoll – an uninhabited island owned by Jabir.
Police offices raided Hondaidhoo, where they found large amounts of suspected drugs and alcohol upon searching the island.
The prosecutor general pressed three charges against Jabir for refusing to provide a urine sample to run a drug test, possession of cannabis and possession of alcohol.
The Criminal Court on February 27, 2014, ruled that Jabir was not guilty of possessing cannabis and concluded the case, However, the third trial is still going on in the court where the court is to decide if he is guilty for possession of alcohol.
Article 73(c)(2) of the constitution states that a person shall be disqualified from election as a member of the People’s Majlis – or a member of the People’s Majlis immediately becomes disqualified – if he has been convicted of a criminal offence and is serving a sentence of more than twelve months.
Article 73(c)(3) states that if a person has been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a term of more than twelve months, unless a period of three years has elapsed since his release, or he has been pardoned for the offence for which he was sentenced, he will also be disqualified.
Jabir was set to re-contest his Kaashidhoo seat next month after an internal MDP decision to discipline the MP for repeatedly breaking three-line whips was overturned on appeal.
According to the Drug Act, Sections 123(a), 161(a) and 161(b), any person arrested on suspicion of having abused alcohol or narcotics has an obligation to comply with police requests for routine urine examination by promptly providing urine samples, and failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable with a one-year jail sentence.